Turkey 'may deport illegal Armenia citizens' over harmful bills

Turkish PM Erdogan said that the crisis which took place due to Armenian resolutions would harm Armenia.

Turkey 'may deport illegal Armenia citizens' over harmful bills

World Bulletin / News Desk

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday that the crisis which took place due to Armenian resolutions would harm Armenia.

Erdogan replied to questions of Huseyin Alkan from BBC Turkish service in British capital of London, Anadolu news agency said.

Erdogan said nearly 170,000 Armenians lived in Turkey currently and 100,000 of them were living in Turkey illegally. "We are ignoring the situation of them now. But if it is needed, I will tell them that you should go back to your country. They are not my citizens. I don't have to keep them in my country," he said.

"The current developments are not our problem. It is the problem of Armenia. This country must make a very important decision. Armenia should be saved from diaspora's control," he said.

"No rush"

Erdogan also met with his British counterpart Gordon Brown in London. Following the gathering, the two officials held a joint press conference and replied to questions of reporters.

Upon a question on his recent remarks in an interview regarding the status of illegal Armenian migrants in Turkey, Erdogan said, "We will not decide on such matter immediately. These people have been living in our country for more than 10 years. However, if developments continue like this, we will definitely make an assessment and take the necessary steps," he said.

Replying to another question, Erdogan said Armenia should be rescued from the diaspora's control.

"At this point, the Minsk Group has an important duty. It should fulfill such task. Once it is fulfilled, all the problems will naturally vanish and there will not be any problems between Turkey and Armenia, or between Armenia and Azerbaijan," he said.

"EU promises"

In regard to relations between Turkey and EU, Erdogan said the EU should keep its promise regarding the country's EU accession process.

A revision should be brought up in regard to the chapters which were not opened, he said. "There are four chapters on which we can talk. We are working on these four chapters. I think that Spain's presidency term will be like a signal flare," he said.

Replying to a question on opening of ports to Greek Cypriot ships, Erdogan said, "if both parties open their ports mutually, we are ready for that. We want the EU to keep its words."

When asked whether tension with the United States (caused by Armenian resolution) will overshadow the role that Turkey wants to play in the Middle East, Erdogan said, "we will do what we can. We are exerting efforts with goodwill. We are working to contribute to world peace."

Güncelleme Tarihi: 17 Mart 2010, 11:33